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Theodore Roosevelt An Autobiography by Theodore Roosevelt by Theodore Roosevelt

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camping-out trips in which the girls could also be included, for we
put them to sleep in the wreck, while the boys slept on the shore;
squaw picnics, the children called them.

My children, when young, went to the public school near us, the little
Cove School, as it is called. For nearly thirty years we have given
the Christmas tree to the school. Before the gifts are distributed I
am expected to make an address, which is always mercifully short, my
own children having impressed upon me with frank sincerity the
attitude of other children to addresses of this kind on such
occasions. There are of course performances by the children
themselves, while all of us parents look admiringly on, each
sympathizing with his or her particular offspring in the somewhat
wooden recital of "Darius Green and his Flying Machine" or "The
Mountain and the Squirrel had a Quarrel." But the tree and the gifts
make up for all shortcomings.

We had a sleigh for winter; but if, when there was much snow, the
whole family desired to go somewhere, we would put the body of the
farm wagon on runners and all bundle in together. We always liked snow
at Christmas time, and the sleigh-ride down to the church on Christmas
eve. One of the hymns always sung at this Christmas eve festival
begins, "It's Christmas eve on the river, it's Christmas eve on the
bay." All good natives of the village firmly believe that this hymn
was written here, and with direct reference to Oyster Bay; although if
such were the case the word "river" would have to be taken in a
hyperbolic sense, as the nearest approach to a river is the village
pond. I used to share this belief myself, until my faith was shaken by
a Denver lady who wrote that she had sung that hymn when a child in
Michigan, and that at the present time her little Denver babies also
loved it, although in their case the river was not represented by even
a village pond.

When we were in Washington, the children usually went with their
mother to the Episcopal church, while I went to the Dutch Reformed.
But if any child misbehaved itself, it was sometimes sent next Sunday
to church with me, on the theory that my companionship would have a
sedative effect--which it did, as I and the child walked along with
rather constrained politeness, each eying the other with watchful
readiness for the unexpected. On one occasion, when the child's
conduct fell just short of warranting such extreme measures, his
mother, as they were on the point of entering church, concluded a
homily by a quotation which showed a certain haziness of memory
concerning the marriage and baptismal services: "No, little boy, if
this conduct continues, I shall think that you neither love, honor,
nor obey me!" However, the culprit was much impressed with a sense of
shortcoming as to the obligations he had undertaken; so the result was
as satisfactory as if the quotation had been from the right service.

As for the education of the children, there was of course much of it
that represented downright hard work and drudgery. There was also much
training that came as a by-product and was perhaps almost as valuable
--not as a substitute but as an addition. After their supper, the
children, when little, would come trotting up to their mother's room
to be read to, and it was always a surprise to me to notice the
extremely varied reading which interested them, from Howard Pyle's
"Robin Hood," Mary Alicia Owen's "Voodoo Tales," and Joel Chandler
Harris's "Aaron in the Wild Woods," to "Lycides" and "King John." If
their mother was absent, I would try to act as vice-mother--a poor
substitute, I fear--superintending the supper and reading aloud
afterwards. The children did not wish me to read the books they
desired their mother to read, and I usually took some such book as
"Hereward the Wake," or "Guy Mannering," or "The Last of the Mohicans"
or else some story about a man-eating tiger, or a man-eating lion,
from one of the hunting books in my library. These latter stories were
always favorites, and as the authors told them in the first person, my
interested auditors grew to know them by the name of the "I" stories,
and regarded them as adventures all of which happened to the same
individual. When Selous, the African hunter, visited us, I had to get
him to tell to the younger children two or three of the stories with
which they were already familiar from my reading; and as Selous is a
most graphic narrator, and always enters thoroughly into the feeling
not only of himself but of the opposing lion or buffalo, my own
rendering of the incidents was cast entirely into the shade.

Besides profiting by the more canonical books on education, we
profited by certain essays and articles of a less orthodox type. I
wish to express my warmest gratitude for such books--not of avowedly
didactic purpose--as Laura Richards's books, Josephine Dodge Daskam's
"Madness of Philip," Palmer Cox's "Queer People," the melodies of
Father Goose and Mother Wild Goose, Flandreau's "Mrs. White's," Myra
Kelly's stories of her little East Side pupils, and Michelson's
"Madigans." It is well to take duties, and life generally, seriously.
It is also well to remember that a sense of humor is a healthy anti-
scorbutic to that portentous seriousness which defeats its own

Occasionally bits of self-education proved of unexpected help to the
children in later years. Like other children, they were apt to take to
bed with them treasures which they particularly esteemed. One of the
boys, just before his sixteenth birthday, went moose hunting with the
family doctor, and close personal friend of the entire family,
Alexander Lambert. Once night overtook them before they camped, and
they had to lie down just where they were. Next morning Dr. Lambert
rather enviously congratulated the boy on the fact that stones and
roots evidently did not interfere with the soundness of his sleep; to
which the boy responded, "Well, Doctor, you see it isn't very long
since I used to take fourteen china animals to bed with me every

As the children grew up, Sagamore Hill remained delightful for them.
There were picnics and riding parties, there were dances in the north
room--sometimes fancy dress dances--and open-air plays on the green
tennis court of one of the cousin's houses. The children are no longer
children now. Most of them are men and women, working out their own
fates in the big world; some in our own land, others across the great
oceans or where the Southern Cross blazes in the tropic nights. Some
of them have children of their own; some are working at one thing,
some at another; in cable ships, in business offices, in factories, in
newspaper offices, building steel bridges, bossing gravel trains and
steam shovels, or laying tracks and superintending freight traffic.
They have had their share of accidents and escapes; as I write, word
comes from a far-off land that one of them, whom Seth Bullock used to
call "Kim" because he was the friend of all mankind, while bossing a
dangerous but necessary steel structural job has had two ribs and two
back teeth broken, and is back at work. They have known and they will
know joy and sorrow, triumph and temporary defeat. But I believe they
are all the better off because of their happy and healthy childhood.

It is impossible to win the great prizes of life without running
risks, and the greatest of all prizes are those connected with the
home. No father and mother can hope to escape sorrow and anxiety, and
there are dreadful moments when death comes very near those we love,
even if for the time being it passes by. But life is a great
adventure, and the worst of all fears is the fear of living. There are
many forms of success, many forms of triumph. But there is no other
success that in any shape or way approaches that which is open to most
of the many, many men and women who have the right ideals. These are
the men and the women who see that it is the intimate and homely
things that count most. They are the men and women who have the
courage to strive for the happiness which comes only with labor and
effort and self-sacrifice, and only to those whose joy in life springs
in part from power of work and sense of duty.



On September 6, 1901, President McKinley was shot by an Anarchist in
the city of Buffalo. I went to Buffalo at once. The President's
condition seemed to be improving, and after a day or two we were told
that he was practically out of danger. I then joined my family, who
were in the Adirondacks, near the foot of Mount Tahawus. A day or two
afterwards we took a long tramp through the forest, and in the
afternoon I climbed Mount Tahawus. After reaching the top I had
descended a few hundred feet to a shelf of land where there was a
little lake, when I saw a guide coming out of the woods on our trail
from below. I felt at once that he had bad news, and, sure enough, he
handed me a telegram saying that the President's condition was much
worse and that I must come to Buffalo immediately. It was late in the
afternoon, and darkness had fallen by the time I reached the clubhouse
where we were staying. It was some time afterwards before I could get
a wagon to drive me out to the nearest railway station, North Creek,
some forty or fifty miles distant. The roads were the ordinary
wilderness roads and the night was dark. But we changed horses two or
three times--when I say "we" I mean the driver and I, as there was no
one else with us--and reached the station just at dawn, to learn from
Mr. Loeb, who had a special train waiting, that the President was
dead. That evening I took the oath of office, in the house of Ansley
Wilcox, at Buffalo.

On three previous occasions the Vice-President had succeeded to the
Presidency on the death of the President. In each case there had been
a reversal of party policy, and a nearly immediate and nearly complete
change in the personnel of the higher offices, especially the Cabinet.
I had never felt that this was wise from any standpoint. If a man is
fit to be President, he will speedily so impress himself in the office
that the policies pursued will be his anyhow, and he will not have to
bother as to whether he is changing them or not; while as regards the
offices under him, the important thing for him is that his
subordinates shall make a success in handling their several
departments. The subordinate is sure to desire to make a success of
his department for his own sake, and if he is a fit man, whose views
on public policy are sound, and whose abilities entitle him to his
position, he will do excellently under almost any chief with the same

I at once announced that I would continue unchanged McKinley's
policies for the honor and prosperity of the country, and I asked all
the members of the Cabinet to stay. There were no changes made among
them save as changes were made among their successors whom I myself
appointed. I continued Mr. McKinley's policies, changing and
developing them and adding new policies only as the questions before
the public changed and as the needs of the public developed. Some of
my friends shook their heads over this, telling me that the men I
retained would not be "loyal to me," and that I would seem as if I
were "a pale copy of McKinley." I told them that I was not nervous on
this score, and that if the men I retained were loyal to their work
they would be giving me the loyalty for which I most cared; and that
if they were not, I would change them anyhow; and that as for being "a
pale copy of McKinley," I was not primarily concerned with either
following or not following in his footsteps, but in facing the new
problems that arose; and that if I were competent I would find ample
opportunity to show my competence by my deeds without worrying myself
as to how to convince people of the fact.

For the reasons I have already given in my chapter on the Governorship
of New York, the Republican party, which in the days of Abraham
Lincoln was founded as the radical progressive party of the Nation,
had been obliged during the last decade of the nineteenth century to
uphold the interests of popular government against a foolish and
illjudged mock-radicalism. It remained the Nationalist as against the
particularist or State's rights party, and in so far it remained
absolutely sound; for little permanent good can be done by any party
which worships the State's rights fetish or which fails to regard the
State, like the county or the municipality, as merely a convenient
unit for local self-government, while in all National matters, of
importance to the whole people, the Nation is to be supreme over
State, county, and town alike. But the State's rights fetish, although
still effectively used at certain times by both courts and Congress to
block needed National legislation directed against the huge
corporations or in the interests of workingmen, was not a prime issue
at the time of which I speak. In 1896, 1898, and 1900 the campaigns
were waged on two great moral issues: (1) the imperative need of a
sound and honest currency; (2) the need, after 1898, of meeting in
manful and straightforward fashion the extraterritorial problems
arising from the Spanish War. On these great moral issues the
Republican party was right, and the men who were opposed to it, and
who claimed to be the radicals, and their allies among the
sentimentalists, were utterly and hopelessly wrong. This had,
regrettably but perhaps inevitably, tended to throw the party into the
hands not merely of the conservatives but of the reactionaries; of men
who, sometimes for personal and improper reasons, but more often with
entire sincerity and uprightness of purpose, distrusted anything that
was progressive and dreaded radicalism. These men still from force of
habit applauded what Lincoln had done in the way of radical dealing
with the abuses of his day; but they did not apply the spirit in which
Lincoln worked to the abuses of their own day. Both houses of Congress
were controlled by these men. Their leaders in the Senate were Messrs.
Aldrich and Hale. The Speaker of the House when I became President was
Mr. Henderson, but in a little over a year he was succeeded by Mr.
Cannon, who, although widely differing from Senator Aldrich in matters
of detail, represented the same type of public sentiment. There were
many points on which I agreed with Mr. Cannon and Mr. Aldrich, and
some points on which I agreed with Mr. Hale. I made a resolute effort
to get on with all three and with their followers, and I have no
question that they made an equally resolute effort to get on with me.
We succeeded in working together, although with increasing friction,
for some years, I pushing forward and they hanging back. Gradually,
however, I was forced to abandon the effort to persuade them to come
my way, and then I achieved results only by appealing over the heads
of the Senate and House leaders to the people, who were the masters of
both of us. I continued in this way to get results until almost the
close of my term; and the Republican party became once more the
progressive and indeed the fairly radical progressive party of the
Nation. When my successor was chosen, however, the leaders of the
House and Senate, or most of them, felt that it was safe to come to a
break with me, and the last or short session of Congress, held between
the election of my successor and his inauguration four months later,
saw a series of contests between the majorities in the two houses of
Congress and the President,--myself,--quite as bitter as if they and I
had belonged to opposite political parties. However, I held my own. I
was not able to push through the legislation I desired during these
four months, but I was able to prevent them doing anything I did not
desire, or undoing anything that I had already succeeded in getting

There were, of course, many Senators and members of the lower house
with whom up to the very last I continued to work in hearty accord,
and with a growing understanding. I have not the space to enumerate,
as I would like to, these men. For many years Senator Lodge had been
my close personal and political friend, with whom I discussed all
public questions that arose, usually with agreement; and our
intimately close relations were of course unchanged by my entry into
the White House. He was of all our public men the man who had made the
closest and wisest study of our foreign relations, and more clearly
than almost any other man he understood the vital fact that the
efficiency of our navy conditioned our national efficiency in foreign
affairs. Anything relating to our international relations, from Panama
and the navy to the Alaskan boundary question, the Algeciras
negotiations, or the peace of Portsmouth, I was certain to discuss
with Senator Lodge and also with certain other members of Congress,
such as Senator Turner of Washington and Representative Hitt of
Illinois. Anything relating to labor legislation and to measures for
controlling big business or efficiently regulating the giant railway
systems, I was certain to discuss with Senator Dolliver or Congressman
Hepburn or Congressman Cooper. With men like Senator Beveridge,
Congressman (afterwards Senator) Dixon, and Congressman Murdock, I was
apt to discuss pretty nearly everything relating to either our
internal or our external affairs. There were many, many others. The
present president of the Senate, Senator Clark, of Arkansas, was as
fearless and high-minded a representative of the people of the United
States as I ever dealt with. He was one of the men who combined
loyalty to his own State with an equally keen loyalty to the people of
all the United States. He was politically opposed to me; but when the
interests of the country were at stake, he was incapable of
considering party differences; and this was especially his attitude in
international matters--including certain treaties which most of his
party colleagues, with narrow lack of patriotism, and complete
subordination of National to factional interest, opposed. I have never
anywhere met finer, more faithful, more disinterested, and more loyal
public servants than Senator O. H. Platt, a Republican, from
Connecticut, and Senator Cockrell, a Democrat, from Missouri. They
were already old men when I came to the Presidency; and doubtless
there were points on which I seemed to them to be extreme and radical;
but eventually they found that our motives and beliefs were the same,
and they did all in their power to help any movement that was for the
interest of our people as a whole. I had met them when I was Civil
Service Commissioner and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. All I ever
had to do with either was to convince him that a given measure I
championed was right, and he then at once did all he could to have it
put into effect. If I could not convince them, why! that was my fault,
or my misfortune; but if I could convince them, I never had to think
again as to whether they would or would not support me. There were
many other men of mark in both houses with whom I could work on some
points, whereas on others we had to differ. There was one powerful
leader--a burly, forceful man, of admirable traits--who had, however,
been trained in the post-bellum school of business and politics, so
that his attitude towards life, quite unconsciously, reminded me a
little of Artemus Ward's view of the Tower of London--"If I like it,
I'll buy it." There was a big governmental job in which this leader
was much interested, and in reference to which he always wished me to
consult a man whom he trusted, whom I will call Pitt Rodney. One day I
answered him, "The trouble with Rodney is that he misestimates his
relations to cosmos"; to which he responded, "Cosmos--Cosmos? Never
heard of him. You stick to Rodney. He's your man!" Outside of the
public servants there were multitudes of men, in newspaper offices, in
magazine offices, in business or the professions or on farms or in
shops, who actively supported the policies for which I stood and did
work of genuine leadership which was quite as effective as any work
done by men in public office. Without the active support of these men
I would have been powerless. In particular, the leading newspaper
correspondents at Washington were as a whole a singularly able,
trustworthy, and public-spirited body of men, and the most useful of
all agents in the fight for efficient and decent government.

As for the men under me in executive office, I could not overstate the
debt of gratitude I owe them. From the heads of the departments, the
Cabinet officers, down, the most striking feature of the
Administration was the devoted, zealous, and efficient work that was
done as soon as it became understood that the one bond of interest
among all of us was the desire to make the Government the most
effective instrument in advancing the interests of the people as a
whole, the interests of the average men and women of the United States
and of their children. I do not think I overstate the case when I say
that most of the men who did the best work under me felt that ours was
a partnership, that we all stood on the same level of purpose and
service, and that it mattered not what position any one of us held so
long as in that position he gave the very best that was in him. We
worked very hard; but I made a point of getting a couple of hours off
each day for equally vigorous play. The men with whom I then played,
whom we laughingly grew to call the "Tennis Cabinet," have been
mentioned in a previous chapter of this book in connection with the
gift they gave me at the last breakfast which they took at the White
House. There were many others in the public service under me with whom
I happened not to play, but who did their share of our common work
just as effectively as it was done by us who did play. Of course
nothing could have been done in my Administration if it had not been
for the zeal, intelligence, masterful ability, and downright hard
labor of these men in countless positions under me. I was helpless to
do anything except as my thoughts and orders were translated into
action by them; and, moreover, each of them, as he grew specially fit
for his job, used to suggest to me the right thought to have, and the
right order to give, concerning that job. It is of course hard for me
to speak with cold and dispassionate partiality of these men, who were
as close to me as were the men of my regiment. But the outside
observers best fitted to pass judgment about them felt as I did. At
the end of my Administration Mr. Bryce, the British Ambassador, told
me that in a long life, during which he had studied intimately the
government of many different countries, he had never in any country
seen a more eager, high-minded, and efficient set of public servants,
men more useful and more creditable to their country, than the men
then doing the work of the American Government in Washington and in
the field. I repeat this statement with the permission of Mr. Bryce.

At about the same time, or a little before, in the spring of 1908,
there appeared in the English /Fortnightly Review/ an article,
evidently by a competent eye witness, setting forth more in detail the
same views to which the British Ambassador thus privately gave
expression. It was in part as follows:

"Mr. Roosevelt has gathered around him a body of public servants
who are nowhere surpassed, I question whether they are anywhere
equaled, for efficiency, self-sacrifice, and an absolute devotion
to their country's interests. Many of them are poor men, without
private means, who have voluntarily abandoned high professional
ambitions and turned their backs on the rewards of business to
serve their country on salaries that are not merely inadequate,
but indecently so. There is not one of them who is not constantly
assailed by offers of positions in the world of commerce, finance,
and the law that would satisfy every material ambition with which
he began life. There is not one of them who could not, if he
chose, earn outside Washington from ten to twenty times the income
on which he economizes as a State official. But these men are as
indifferent to money and to the power that money brings as to the
allurements of Newport and New York, or to merely personal
distinctions, or to the commercialized ideals which the great bulk
of their fellow-countrymen accept without question. They are
content, and more than content, to sink themselves in the National
service without a thought of private advancement, and often at a
heavy sacrifice of worldly honors, and to toil on . . . sustained
by their own native impulse to make of patriotism an efficient
instrument of public betterment."

The American public rarely appreciate the high quality of the work
done by some of our diplomats--work, usually entirely unnoticed and
unrewarded, which redounds to the interest and the honor of all of us.
The most useful man in the entire diplomatic service, during my
presidency, and for many years before, was Henry White; and I say this
having in mind the high quality of work done by such admirable
ambassadors and ministers as Bacon, Meyer, Straus, O'Brien, Rockhill,
and Egan, to name only a few among many. When I left the presidency
White was Ambassador to France; shortly afterwards he was removed by
Mr. Taft, for reasons unconnected with the good of the service.

The most important factor in getting the right spirit in my
Administration, next to the insistence upon courage, honesty, and a
genuine democracy of desire to serve the plain people, was my
insistence upon the theory that the executive power was limited only
by specific restrictions and prohibitions appearing in the
Constitution or imposed by the Congress under its Constitutional
powers. My view was that every executive officer, and above all every
executive officer in high position, was a steward of the people bound
actively and affirmatively to do all he could for the people, and not
to content himself with the negative merit of keeping his talents
undamaged in a napkin. I declined to adopt the view that what was
imperatively necessary for the Nation could not be done by the
President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it.
My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do
anything that the needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was
forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws. Under this
interpretation of executive power I did and caused to be done many
things not previously done by the President and the heads of the
departments. I did not usurp power, but I did greatly broaden the use
of executive power. In other words, I acted for the public welfare, I
acted for the common well-being of all our people, whenever and in
whatever manner was necessary, unless prevented by direct
constitutional or legislative prohibition. I did not care a rap for
the mere form and show of power; I cared immensely for the use that
could be made of the substance. The Senate at one time objected to my
communicating with them in printing, preferring the expensive,
foolish, and laborious practice of writing out the messages by hand.
It was not possible to return to the outworn archaism of hand writing;
but we endeavored to have the printing made as pretty as possible.
Whether I communicated with the Congress in writing or by word of
mouth, and whether the writing was by a machine, or a pen, were
equally, and absolutely, unimportant matters. The importance lay in
what I said and in the heed paid to what I said. So as to my meeting
and consulting Senators, Congressmen, politicians, financiers, and
labor men. I consulted all who wished to see me; and if I wished to
see any one, I sent for him; and where the consultation took place was
a matter of supreme unimportance. I consulted every man with the
sincere hope that I could profit by and follow his advice; I consulted
every member of Congress who wished to be consulted, hoping to be able
to come to an agreement of action with him; and I always finally acted
as my conscience and common sense bade me act.

About appointments I was obliged by the Constitution to consult the
Senate; and the long-established custom of the Senate meant that in
practice this consultation was with individual Senators and even with
big politicians who stood behind the Senators. I was only one-half the
appointing power; I nominated; but the Senate confirmed. In practice,
by what was called "the courtesy of the Senate," the Senate normally
refused to confirm any appointment if the Senator from the State
objected to it. In exceptional cases, where I could arouse public
attention, I could force through the appointment in spite of the
opposition of the Senators; in all ordinary cases this was impossible.
On the other hand, the Senator could of course do nothing for any man
unless I chose to nominate him. In consequence the Constitution itself
forced the President and the Senators from each State to come to a
working agreement on the appointments in and from that State.

My course was to insist on absolute fitness, including honesty, as a
prerequisite to every appointment; and to remove only for good cause,
and, where there was such cause, to refuse even to discuss with the
Senator in interest the unfit servant's retention. Subject to these
considerations, I normally accepted each Senator's recommendations for
offices of a routine kind, such as most post-offices and the like, but
insisted on myself choosing the men for the more important positions.
I was willing to take any good man for postmaster; but in the case of
a Judge or District Attorney or Canal Commissioner or Ambassador, I
was apt to insist either on a given man or else on any man with a
given class of qualifications. If the Senator deceived me, I took care
that he had no opportunity to repeat the deception.

I can perhaps best illustrate my theory of action by two specific
examples. In New York Governor Odell and Senator Platt sometimes
worked in agreement and sometimes were at swords' points, and both
wished to be consulted. To a friendly Congressman, who was also their
friend, I wrote as follows on July 22, 1903:

"I want to work with Platt. I want to work with Odell. I want to
support both and take the advice of both. But of course ultimately
I must be the judge as to acting on the advice given. When, as in
the case of the judgeship, I am convinced that the advice of both
is wrong, I shall act as I did when I appointed Holt. When I can
find a friend of Odell's like Cooley, who is thoroughly fit for
the position I desire to fill, it gives me the greatest pleasure
to appoint him. When Platt proposes to me a man like Hamilton
Fish, it is equally a pleasure to appoint him."

This was written in connection with events which led up to my refusing
to accept Senator Platt's or Governor Odell's suggestions as to a
Federal Judgeship and a Federal District Attorneyship, and insisting
on the appointment, first of Judge Hough and later of District
Attorney Stimson; because in each case I felt that the work to be done
was of so high an order that I could not take an ordinary man.

The other case was that of Senator Fulton, of Oregon. Through Francis
Heney I was prosecuting men who were implicated in a vast network of
conspiracy against the law in connection with the theft of public land
in Oregon. I had been acting on Senator Fulton's recommendations for
office, in the usual manner. Heney had been insisting that Fulton was
in league with the men we were prosecuting, and that he had
recommended unfit men. Fulton had been protesting against my following
Heney's advice, particularly as regards appointing Judge Wolverton as
United States Judge. Finally Heney laid before me a report which
convinced me of the truth of his statements. I then wrote to Fulton as
follows, on November 20, 1905: "My dear Senator Fulton: I inclose you
herewith a copy of the report made to me by Mr. Heney. I have seen the
originals of the letters from you and Senator Mitchell quoted therein.
I do not at this time desire to discuss the report itself, which of
course I must submit to the Attorney-General. But I have been obliged
to reach the painful conclusion that your own letters as therein
quoted tend to show that you recommended for the position of District
Attorney B when you had good reason to believe that he had himself
been guilty of fraudulent conduct; that you recommended C for the same
position simply because it was for B's interest that he should be so
recommended, and, as there is reason to believe, because he had agreed
to divide the fees with B if he were appointed; and that you finally
recommended the reappointment of H with the knowledge that if H were
appointed he would abstain from prosecuting B for criminal misconduct,
this being why B advocated H's claims for reappointment. If you care
to make any statement in the matter, I shall of course be glad to hear
it. As the District Judge of Oregon I shall appoint Judge Wolverton."
In the letter I of course gave in full the names indicated above by
initials. Senator Fulton gave no explanation. I therefore ceased to
consult him about appointments under the Department of Justice and the
Interior, the two departments in which the crookedness had occurred--
there was no question of crookedness in the other offices in the
State, and they could be handled in the ordinary manner. Legal
proceedings were undertaken against his colleague in the Senate, and
one of his colleagues in the lower house, and the former was convicted
and sentenced to the penitentiary.

In a number of instances the legality of executive acts of my
Administration was brought before the courts. They were uniformly
sustained. For example, prior to 1907 statutes relating to the
disposition of coal lands had been construed as fixing the flat price
at $10 to $20 per acre. The result was that valuable coal lands were
sold for wholly inadequate prices, chiefly to big corporations. By
executive order the coal lands were withdrawn and not opened for entry
until proper classification was placed thereon by Government agents.
There was a great clamor that I was usurping legislative power; but
the acts were not assailed in court until we brought suits to set
aside entries made by persons and associations to obtain larger areas
than the statutes authorized. This position was opposed on the ground
that the restrictions imposed were illegal; that the executive orders
were illegal. The Supreme Court sustained the Government. In the same
way our attitude in the water power question was sustained, the
Supreme Court holding that the Federal Government had the rights we
claimed over streams that are or may be declared navigable by
Congress. Again, when Oklahoma became a State we were obliged to use
the executive power to protect Indian rights and property, for there
had been an enormous amount of fraud in the obtaining of Indian lands
by white men. Here we were denounced as usurping power over a State as
well as usurping power that did not belong to the executive. The
Supreme Court sustained our action.

In connection with the Indians, by the way, it was again and again
necessary to assert the position of the President as steward of the
whole people. I had a capital Indian Commissioner, Francis E. Leupp. I
found that I could rely on his judgment not to get me into fights that
were unnecessary, and therefore I always backed him to the limit when
he told me that a fight was necessary. On one occasion, for example,
Congress passed a bill to sell to settlers about half a million acres
of Indian land in Oklahoma at one and a half dollars an acre. I
refused to sign it, and turned the matter over to Leupp. The bill was
accordingly withdrawn, amended so as to safeguard the welfare of the
Indians, and the minimum price raised to five dollars an acre. Then I
signed the bill. We sold that land under sealed bids, and realized for
the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Indians more than four million dollars
--three millions and a quarter more than they would have obtained if I
had signed the bill in its original form. In another case, where there
had been a division among the Sac and Fox Indians, part of the tribe
removing to Iowa, the Iowa delegation in Congress, backed by two
Iowans who were members of my Cabinet, passed a bill awarding a sum of
nearly a half million dollars to the Iowa seceders. They had not
consulted the Indian Bureau. Leupp protested against the bill, and I
vetoed it. A subsequent bill was passed on the lines laid down by the
Indian Bureau, referring the whole controversy to the courts, and the
Supreme Court in the end justified our position by deciding against
the Iowa seceders and awarding the money to the Oklahoma stay-at-

As to all action of this kind there have long been two schools of
political thought, upheld with equal sincerity. The division has not
normally been along political, but temperamental, lines. The course I
followed, of regarding the executive as subject only to the people,
and, under the Constitution, bound to serve the people affirmatively
in cases where the Constitution does not explicitly forbid him to
render the service, was substantially the course followed by both
Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. Other honorable and well-meaning
Presidents, such as James Buchanan, took the opposite and, as it seems
to me, narrowly legalistic view that the President is the servant of
Congress rather than of the people, and can do nothing, no matter how
necessary it be to act, unless the Constitution explicitly commands
the action. Most able lawyers who are past middle age take this view,
and so do large numbers of well-meaning, respectable citizens. My
successor in office took this, the Buchanan, view of the President's
powers and duties.

For example, under my Administration we found that one of the favorite
methods adopted by the men desirous of stealing the public domain was
to carry the decision of the Secretary of the Interior into court. By
vigorously opposing such action, and only by so doing, we were able to
carry out the policy of properly protecting the public domain. My
successor not only took the opposite view, but recommended to Congress
the passage of a bill which would have given the courts direct
appellate power over the Secretary of the Interior in these land
matters. This bill was reported favorably by Mr. Mondell, Chairman of
the House Committee on public lands, a Congressman who took the lead
in every measure to prevent the conservation of our natural resources
and the preservation of the National domain for the use of home-
seekers. Fortunately, Congress declined to pass the bill. Its passage
would have been a veritable calamity.

I acted on the theory that the President could at any time in his
discretion withdraw from entry any of the public lands of the United
States and reserve the same for forestry, for water-power sites, for
irrigation, and other public purposes. Without such action it would
have been impossible to stop the activity of the land thieves. No one
ventured to test its legality by lawsuit. My successor, however,
himself questioned it, and referred the matter to Congress. Again
Congress showed its wisdom by passing a law which gave the President
the power which he had long exercised, and of which my successor had
shorn himself.

Perhaps the sharp difference between what may be called the Lincoln-
Jackson and the Buchanan-Taft schools, in their views of the power and
duties of the President, may be best illustrated by comparing the
attitude of my successor toward his Secretary of the Interior, Mr.
Ballinger, when the latter was accused of gross misconduct in office,
with my attitude towards my chiefs of department and other subordinate
officers. More than once while I was President my officials were
attacked by Congress, generally because these officials did their duty
well and fearlessly. In every such case I stood by the official and
refused to recognize the right of Congress to interfere with me
excepting by impeachment or in other Constitutional manner. On the
other hand, wherever I found the officer unfit for his position I
promptly removed him, even although the most influential men in
Congress fought for his retention. The Jackson-Lincoln view is that a
President who is fit to do good work should be able to form his own
judgment as to his own subordinates, and, above all, of the
subordinates standing highest and in closest and most intimate touch
with him. My secretaries and their subordinates were responsible to
me, and I accepted the responsibility for all their deeds. As long as
they were satisfactory to me I stood by them against every critic or
assailant, within or without Congress; and as for getting Congress to
make up my mind for me about them, the thought would have been
inconceivable to me. My successor took the opposite, or Buchanan, view
when he permitted and requested Congress to pass judgment on the
charges made against Mr. Ballinger as an executive officer. These
charges were made to the President; the President had the facts before
him and could get at them at any time, and he alone had power to act
if the charges were true. However, he permitted and requested Congress
to investigate Mr. Ballinger. The party minority of the committee that
investigated him, and one member of the majority, declared that the
charges were well founded and that Mr. Ballinger should be removed.
The other members of the majority declared the charges ill founded.
The President abode by the view of the majority. Of course believers
in the Jackson-Lincoln theory of the Presidency would not be content
with this town meeting majority and minority method of determining by
another branch of the Government what it seems the especial duty of
the President himself to determine for himself in dealing with his own
subordinate in his own department.

There are many worthy people who reprobate the Buchanan method as a
matter of history, but who in actual life reprobate still more
strongly the Jackson-Lincoln method when it is put into practice.
These persons conscientiously believe that the President should solve
every doubt in favor of inaction as against action, that he should
construe strictly and narrowly the Constitutional grant of powers both
to the National Government, and to the President within the National
Government. In addition, however, to the men who conscientiously
believe in this course from high, although as I hold misguided,
motives, there are many men who affect to believe in it merely because
it enables them to attack and to try to hamper, for partisan or
personal reasons, an executive whom they dislike. There are other men
in whom, especially when they are themselves in office, practical
adherence to the Buchanan principle represents not well-thought-out
devotion to an unwise course, but simple weakness of character and
desire to avoid trouble and responsibility. Unfortunately, in practice
it makes little difference which class of ideas actuates the
President, who by his action sets a cramping precedent. Whether he is
highminded and wrongheaded or merely infirm of purpose, whether he
means well feebly or is bound by a mischievous misconception of the
powers and duties of the National Government and of the President, the
effect of his actions is the same. The President's duty is to act so
that he himself and his subordinates shall be able to do efficient
work for the people, and this efficient work he and they cannot do if
Congress is permitted to undertake the task of making up his mind for
him as to how he shall perform what is clearly his sole duty.

One of the ways in which by independent action of the executive we
were able to accomplish an immense amount of work for the public was
through volunteer unpaid commissions appointed by the President. It
was possible to get the work done by these volunteer commissions only
because of the enthusiasm for the public service which, starting in
the higher offices at Washington, made itself felt throughout the
Government departments--as I have said, I never knew harder and more
disinterested work done by any people than was done by the men and
women of all ranks in the Government service. The contrast was really
extraordinary between their live interest in their work and the
traditional clerical apathy which has so often been the distinguishing
note of governmental work in Washington. Most of the public service
performed by these volunteer commissions, carried on without a cent of
pay to the men themselves, and wholly without cost to the Government,
was done by men the great majority of whom were already in the
Government service and already charged with responsibilities amounting
each to a full man's job.

The first of these Commissions was the Commission on the Organization
of Government Scientific Work, whose Chairman was Charles D. Walcott.
Appointed March 13, 1903, its duty was to report directly to the
President "upon the organization, present condition, and needs of the
Executive Government work wholly or partly scientific in character,
and upon the steps which should be taken, if any, to prevent the
duplication of such work, to co-ordinate its various branches, to
increase its efficiency and economy, and to promote its usefulness to
the Nation at large." This Commission spent four months in an
examination which covered the work of about thirty of the larger
scientific and executive bureaus of the Government, and prepared a
report which furnished the basis for numerous improvements in the
Government service.

Another Commission, appointed June 2, 1905, was that on Department
Methods--Charles H. Keep, Chairman--whose task was to "find out what
changes are needed to place the conduct of the executive business of
the Government in all its branches on the most economical and
effective basis in the light of the best modern business practice."
The letter appointing this Commission laid down nine principles of
effective Governmental work, the most striking of which was: "The
existence of any method, standard, custom, or practice is no reason
for its continuance when a better is offered." This Commission,
composed like that just described, of men already charged with
important work, performed its functions wholly without cost to the
Government. It was assisted by a body of about seventy experts in the
Government departments chosen for their special qualifications to
carry forward a study of the best methods in business, and organized
into assistant committees under the leadership of Overton W. Price,
Secretary of the Commission. These assistant committees, all of whose
members were still carrying on their regular work, made their reports
during the last half of 1906. The Committee informed itself fully
regarding the business methods of practically every individual branch
of the business of the Government, and effected a marked improvement
in general efficiency throughout the service. The conduct of the
routine business of the Government had never been thoroughly
overhauled before, and this examination of it resulted in the
promulgation of a set of working principles for the transaction of
public business which are as sound to-day as they were when the
Committee finished its work. The somewhat elaborate and costly
investigations of Government business methods since made have served
merely to confirm the findings of the Committee on Departmental
Methods, which were achieved without costing the Government a dollar.
The actual saving in the conduct of the business of the Government
through the better methods thus introduced amounted yearly to many
hundreds of thousands of dollars; but a far more important gain was
due to the remarkable success of the Commission in establishing a new
point of view in public servants toward their work.

The need for improvement in the Governmental methods of transacting
business may be illustrated by an actual case. An officer in charge of
an Indian agency made a requisition in the autumn for a stove costing
seven dollars, certifying at the same time that it was needed to keep
the infirmary warm during the winter, because the old stove was worn
out. Thereupon the customary papers went through the customary
routine, without unusual delay at any point. The transaction moved
like a glacier with dignity to its appointed end, and the stove
reached the infirmary in good order in time for the Indian agent to
acknowledge its arrival in these words: "The stove is here. So is

The Civil Service Commission, under men like John McIlhenny and
Garfield, rendered service without which the Government could have
been conducted with neither efficiency nor honesty. The politicians
were not the only persons at fault; almost as much improper pressure
for appointments is due to mere misplaced sympathy, and to the
spiritless inefficiency which seeks a Government office as a haven for
the incompetent. An amusing feature of office seeking is that each man
desiring an office is apt to look down on all others with the same
object as forming an objectionable class with which /he/ has nothing
in common. At the time of the eruption of Mt. Pelee, when among others
the American Consul was killed, a man who had long been seeking an
appointment promptly applied for the vacancy. He was a good man, of
persistent nature, who felt I had been somewhat blind to his merits.
The morning after the catastrophe he wrote, saying that as the consul
was dead he would like his place, and that I could surely give it to
him, because "even the office seekers could not have applied for it

The method of public service involved in the appointment and the work
of the two commissions just described was applied also in the
establishment of four other commissions, each of which performed its
task without salary or expense for its members, and wholly without
cost to the Government. The other four commissions were:

Commission on Public Lands;
Commission on Inland Waterways;
Commission on Country Life; and
Commission on National Conservation.

All of these commissions were suggested to me by Gifford Pinchot, who
served upon them all. The work of the last four will be touched upon
in connection with the chapter on Conservation. These commissions by
their reports and findings directly interfered with many place-holders
who were doing inefficient work, and their reports and the action
taken thereon by the Administration strengthened the hands of those
administrative officers who in the various departments, and especially
in the Secret Service, were proceeding against land thieves and other
corrupt wrong-doers. Moreover, the mere fact that they did efficient
work for the public along lines new to veteran and cynical politicians
of the old type created vehement hostility to them. Senators like Mr.
Hale and Congressmen like Mr. Tawney were especially bitter against
these commissions; and towards the end of my term they were followed
by the majority of their fellows in both houses, who had gradually
been sundered from me by the open or covert hostility of the financial
or Wall Street leaders, and of the newspaper editors and politicians
who did their bidding in the interest of privilege. These Senators and
Congressmen asserted that they had a right to forbid the President
profiting by the unpaid advice of disinterested experts. Of course I
declined to admit the existence of any such right, and continued the
Commissions. My successor acknowledged the right, upheld the view of
the politicians in question, and abandoned the commissions, to the
lasting detriment of the people as a whole.

One thing is worth pointing out: During the seven and a half years of
my Administration we greatly and usefully extended the sphere of
Governmental action, and yet we reduced the burden of the taxpayers;
for we reduced the interest-bearing debt by more than $90,000,000. To
achieve a marked increase in efficiency and at the same time an
increase in economy is not an easy feat; but we performed it.

There was one ugly and very necessary task. This was to discover and
root out corruption wherever it was found in any of the departments.
The first essential was to make it clearly understood that no
political or business or social influence of any kind would for one
moment be even considered when the honesty of a public official was at
issue. It took a little time to get this fact thoroughly drilled into
the heads both of the men within the service and of the political
leaders without. The feat was accomplished so thoroughly that every
effort to interfere in any shape or way with the course of justice was
abandoned definitely and for good. Most, although not all, of the
frauds occurred in connection with the Post-Office Department and the
Land Office.

It was in the Post-Office Department that we first definitely
established the rule of conduct which became universal throughout the
whole service. Rumors of corruption in the department became rife, and
finally I spoke of them to the then First Assistant Postmaster-
General, afterwards Postmaster-General, Robert J. Wynne. He reported
to me, after some investigation, that in his belief there was
doubtless corruption, but that it was very difficult to get at it, and
that the offenders were confident and defiant because of their great
political and business backing and the ramifications of their crimes.
Talking the matter over with him, I came to the conclusion that the
right man to carry on the investigation was the then Fourth Assistant
Postmaster-General, now a Senator from Kansas, Joseph L. Bristow, who
possessed the iron fearlessness needful to front such a situation. Mr.
Bristow had perforce seen a good deal of the seamy side of politics,
and of the extent of the unscrupulousness with which powerful
influence was brought to bear to shield offenders. Before undertaking
the investigation he came to see me, and said that he did not wish to
go into it unless he could be assured that I would stand personally
behind him, and, no matter where his inquiries led him, would support
him and prevent interference with him. I answered that I would
certainly do so. He went into the investigation with relentless
energy, dogged courage, and keen intelligence. His success was
complete, and the extent of his services to the Nation are not easily
to be exaggerated. He unearthed a really appalling amount of
corruption, and he did his work with such absolute thoroughness that
the corruption was completely eradicated.

We had, of course, the experience usual in all such investigations. At
first there was popular incredulity and disbelief that there was much
behind the charges, or that much could be unearthed. Then when the
corruption was shown there followed a yell of anger from all
directions, and a period during which any man accused was forthwith
held guilty by the public; and violent demands were made by the
newspapers for the prosecution not only of the men who could be
prosecuted with a fair chance of securing conviction and imprisonment,
but of other men whose misconduct had been such as to warrant my
removing them from office, but against whom it was not possible to get
the kind of evidence which would render likely conviction in a
criminal case. Suits were brought against all the officials whom we
thought we could convict; and the public complained bitterly that we
did not bring further suits. We secured several convictions, including
convictions of the most notable offenders. The trials consumed a good
deal of time. Public attention was attracted to something else.
Indifference succeeded to excitement, and in some subtle way the
juries seemed to respond to the indifference. One of the worst
offenders was acquitted by a jury; whereupon not a few of the same men
who had insisted that the Government was derelict in not criminally
prosecuting every man whose misconduct was established so as to make
it necessary to turn him out of office, now turned round and, inasmuch
as the jury had not found this man guilty of crime, demanded that he
should be reinstated in office! It is needless to say that the demand
was not granted. There were two or three other acquittals, of
prominent outsiders. Nevertheless the net result was that the majority
of the worst offenders were sent to prison, and the remainder
dismissed from the Government service, if they were public officials,
and if they were not public officials at least so advertised as to
render it impossible that they should ever again have dealings with
the Government. The department was absolutely cleaned and became one
of the very best in the Government. Several Senators came to me--Mr.
Garfield was present on the occasion--and said that they were glad I
was putting a stop to corruption, but they hoped I would avoid all
scandal; that if I would make an example of some one man and then let
the others quietly resign, it would avoid a disturbance which might
hurt the party. They were advising me in good faith, and I was as
courteous as possible in my answer, but explained that I would have to
act with the utmost rigor against the offenders, no matter what the
effect on the party, and, moreover, that I did not believe it would
hurt the party. It did not hurt the party. It helped the party. A
favorite war-cry in American political life has always been, "Turn the
rascals out." We made it evident that, as far as we were concerned,
this war-cry was pointless; for we turned our own rascals out.

There were important and successful land fraud prosecutions in several
Western States. Probably the most important were the cases prosecuted
in Oregon by Francis J. Heney, with the assistance of William J.
Burns, a secret service agent who at that time began his career as a
great detective. It would be impossible to overstate the services
rendered to the cause of decency and honesty by Messrs. Heney and
Burns. Mr. Heney was my close and intimate adviser professionally and
non-professionally, not only as regards putting a stop to frauds in
the public lands, but in many other matters of vital interest to the
Republic. No man in the country has waged the battle for National
honesty with greater courage and success, with more whole-hearted
devotion to the public good; and no man has been more traduced and
maligned by the wrong-doing agents and representatives of the great
sinister forces of evil. He secured the conviction of various men of
high political and financial standing in connection with the Oregon
prosecutions; he and Burns behaved with scrupulous fairness and
propriety; but their services to the public caused them to incur the
bitter hatred of those who had wronged the public, and after I left
office the National Administration turned against them. One of the
most conspicuous of the men whom they had succeeded in convicting was
pardoned by President Taft--in spite of the fact that the presiding
Judge, Judge Hunt, had held that the evidence amply warranted the
conviction, and had sentenced the man to imprisonment. As was natural,
the one hundred and forty-six land-fraud defendants in Oregon, who
included the foremost machine political leaders in the State,
furnished the backbone of the opposition to me in the Presidential
contest of 1912. The opposition rallied behind Messrs. Taft and
LaFollette; and although I carried the primaries handsomely, half of
the delegates elected from Oregon under instructions to vote for me,
sided with my opponents in the National Convention--and as regards
some of them I became convinced that the mainspring of their motive
lay in the intrigue for securing the pardon of certain of the men
whose conviction Heney had secured.

Land fraud and post-office cases were not the only ones. We were
especially zealous in prosecuting all of the "higher up" offenders in
the realms of politics and finance who swindled on a large scale.
Special assistants of the Attorney-General, such as Mr. Frank Kellogg,
of St. Paul, and various first-class Federal district attorneys in
different parts of the country secured notable results: Mr. Stimson
and his assistants, Messrs. Wise, Denison, and Frankfurter, in New
York, for instance, in connection with the prosecution of the Sugar
Trust and of the banker Morse, and of a great metropolitan newspaper
for opening its columns to obscene and immoral advertisements; and in
St. Louis Messrs. Dyer and Nortoni, who, among other services, secured
the conviction and imprisonment of Senator Burton, of Kansas; and in
Chicago Mr. Sims, who raised his office to the highest pitch of
efficiency, secured the conviction of the banker Walsh and of the Beef
Trust, and first broke through the armor of the Standard Oil Trust. It
is not too much to say that these men, and others like them, worked a
complete revolution in the enforcement of the Federal laws, and made
their offices organized legal machines fit and ready to conduct
smashing fights for the people's rights and to enforce the laws in
aggressive fashion. When I took the Presidency, it was a common and
bitter saying that a big man, a rich man, could not be put in jail. We
put many big and rich men in jail; two United States Senators, for
instance, and among others two great bankers, one in New York and one
in Chicago. One of the United States Senators died, the other served
his term. (One of the bankers was released from prison by executive
order after I left office.) These were merely individual cases among
many others like them. Moreover, we were just as relentless in dealing
with crimes of violence among the disorderly and brutal classes as in
dealing with the crimes of cunning and fraud of which certain wealthy
men and big politicians were guilty. Mr. Sims in Chicago was
particularly efficient in sending to the penitentiary numbers of the
infamous men who batten on the "white slave" traffic, after July,
1908, when by proclamation I announced the adherence of our Government
to the international agreement for the suppression of the traffic.

The views I then held and now hold were expressed in a memorandum made
in the case of a Negro convicted of the rape of a young Negro girl,
practically a child. A petition for his pardon had been sent me.

August 8, 1904.

The application for the commutation of sentence of John W. Burley
is denied. This man committed the most hideous crime known to our
laws, and twice before he has committed crimes of a similar,
though less horrible, character. In my judgment there is no
justification whatever for paying heed to the allegations that he
is not of sound mind, allegations made after the trial and
conviction. Nobody would pretend that there has ever been any such
degree of mental unsoundness shown as would make people even
consider sending him to an asylum if he had not committed this
crime. Under such circumstances he should certainly be esteemed
sane enough to suffer the penalty for his monstrous deed. I have
scant sympathy with the plea of insanity advanced to save a man
from the consequences of crime, when unless that crime had been
committed it would have been impossible to persuade any
responsible authority to commit him to an asylum as insane. Among
the most dangerous criminals, and especially among those prone to
commit this particular kind of offense, there are plenty of a
temper so fiendish or so brutal as to be incompatible with any
other than a brutish order of intelligence; but these men are
nevertheless responsible for their acts; and nothing more tends to
encourage crime among such men than the belief that through the
plea of insanity or any other method it is possible for them to
escape paying the just penalty of their crimes. The crime in
question is one to the existence of which we largely owe the
existence of that spirit of lawlessness which takes form in
lynching. It is a crime so revolting that the criminal is not
entitled to one particle of sympathy from any human being. It is
essential that the punishment for it should be not only as certain
but as swift as possible. The jury in this case did their duty by
recommending the infliction of the death penalty. It is to be
regretted that we do not have special provision for more summary
dealing with this type of case. The more we do what in us lies to
secure certain and swift justice in dealing with these cases, the
more effectively do we work against the growth of that lynching
spirit which is so full of evil omen for this people, because it
seeks to avenge one infamous crime by the commission of another of
equal infamy.

The application is denied and the sentence will be carried into


One of the most curious incidents of lawlessness with which I had to
deal affected an entire State. The State of Nevada in the year 1907
was gradually drifting into utter governmental impotence and downright
anarchy. The people were at heart all right; but the forces of evil
had been permitted to get the upper hand, and for the time being the
decent citizens had become helpless to assert themselves either by
controlling the greedy corporations on the one hand or repressing the
murderous violence of certain lawless labor organizations on the other
hand. The Governor of the State was a Democrat and a Southern man, and
in the abstract a strong believer in the doctrine of State's Rights.
But his experience finally convinced him that he could obtain order
only through the intervention of the National Government; and then he
went over too far and wished to have the National Government do his
police work for him. In the Rocky Mountain States there had existed
for years what was practically a condition of almost constant war
between the wealthy mine-owners and the Western Federation of Miners,
at whose head stood Messrs. Haywood, Pettibone, and Moyer, who were
about that time indicted for the murder of the Governor of Idaho. Much
that was lawless, much that was indefensible, had been done by both
sides. The Legislature of Nevada was in sympathy with, or at least was
afraid of not expressing sympathy for, Messrs. Moyer, Haywood,
Pettibone, and their associates. The State was practically without any
police, and the Governor had recommended the establishment of a State
Constabulary, along the lines of the Texas Rangers; but the
Legislature rejected his request. The Governor reported to me the
conditions as follows. During 1907 the Goldfield mining district
became divided into two hostile camps. Half of the Western Federation
of Miners were constantly armed, and arms and ammunition were
purchased and kept by the union as a body, while the mine-owners on
their side retained large numbers of watchmen and guards who were also
armed and always on duty. In addition to these opposing forces there
was, as the Governor reported, an unusually large number of the
violent and criminal element, always attracted to a new and booming
mining camp. Under such conditions the civil authorities were
practically powerless, and the Governor, being helpless to avert civil
war, called on me to keep order. I accordingly threw in a body of
regular troops under General Funston. These kept order completely, and
the Governor became so well satisfied that he thought he would like to
have them there permanently! This seemed to me unhealthy, and on
December 28, 1907, I notified him that while I would do my duty, the
first need was that the State authorities should do theirs, and that
the first step towards this was the assembling of the Legislature. I
concluded my telegram: "If within five days from receipt of this
telegram you shall have issued the necessary notice to convene the
Legislature of Nevada, I shall continue the troops during a period of
three weeks. If when the term of five days has elapsed the notice has
not been issued, the troops will be immediately returned to their
former stations." I had already investigated the situation through a
committee, composed of the Chief of the Bureau of Corporations, Mr. H.
K. Smith, the Chief of the Bureau of Labor, Mr. C. P. Neill, and the
Comptroller of the Treasury, Mr. Lawrence Murray. These men I could
thoroughly trust, and their report, which was not over-favorable to
either side, had convinced me that the only permanent way to get good
results was to insist on the people of the State themselves grappling
with and solving their own troubles. The Governor summoned the
Legislature, it met, and the constabulary bill was passed. The troops
remained in Nevada until time had been given for the State authorities
to organize their force so that violence could at once be checked.
Then they were withdrawn.

Nor was it only as regards their own internal affairs that I sometimes
had to get into active communication with the State authorities. There
has always been a strong feeling in California against the immigration
of Asiatic laborers, whether these are wage-workers or men who occupy
and till the soil. I believe this to be fundamentally a sound and
proper attitude, an attitude which must be insisted upon, and yet
which can be insisted upon in such a manner and with such courtesy and
such sense of mutual fairness and reciprocal obligation and respect as
not to give any just cause of offense to Asiatic peoples. In the
present state of the world's progress it is highly inadvisable that
peoples in wholly different stages of civilization, or of wholly
different types of civilization even although both equally high, shall
be thrown into intimate contact. This is especially undesirable when
there is a difference of both race and standard of living. In
California the question became acute in connection with the admission
of the Japanese. I then had and now have a hearty admiration for the
Japanese people. I believe in them; I respect their great qualities; I
wish that our American people had many of these qualities. Japanese
and American students, travelers, scientific and literary men,
merchants engaged in international trade, and the like can meet on
terms of entire equality and should be given the freest access each to
the country of the other. But the Japanese themselves would not
tolerate the intrusion into their country of a mass of Americans who
would displace Japanese in the business of the land. I think they are
entirely right in this position. I would be the first to admit that
Japan has the absolute right to declare on what terms foreigners shall
be admitted to work in her country, or to own land in her country, or
to become citizens of her country. America has and must insist upon
the same right. The people of California were right in insisting that
the Japanese should not come thither in mass, that there should be no
influx of laborers, of agricultural workers, or small tradesmen--in
short, no mass settlement or immigration.

Unfortunately, during the latter part of my term as President certain
unwise and demagogic agitators in California, to show their
disapproval of the Japanese coming into the State, adopted the very
foolish procedure of trying to provide by law that the Japanese
children should not be allowed to attend the schools with the white
children, and offensive and injurious language was used in connection
with the proposal. The Federal Administration promptly took up the
matter with the California authorities, and I got into personal touch
with them. At my request the Mayor of San Francisco and other leaders
in the movement came on to see me. I explained that the duty of the
National Government was twofold: in the first place, to meet every
reasonable wish and every real need of the people of California or any
other State in dealing with the people of a foreign power; and, in the
next place, itself exclusively and fully to exercise the right of
dealing with this foreign power.

Inasmuch as in the last resort, including that last of all resorts,
war, the dealing of necessity had to be between the foreign power and
the National Government, it was impossible to admit that the doctrine
of State sovereignty could be invoked in such a matter. As soon as
legislative or other action in any State affects a foreign nation,
then the affair becomes one for the Nation, and the State should deal
with the foreign power purely through the Nation.

I explained that I was in entire sympathy with the people of
California as to the subject of immigration of the Japanese in mass;
but that of course I wished to accomplish the object they had in view
in the way that would be most courteous and most agreeable to the
feelings of the Japanese; that all relations between the two peoples
must be those of reciprocal justice, and that it was an intolerable
outrage on the part of newspapers and public men to use offensive and
insulting language about a high-spirited, sensitive, and friendly
people; and that such action as was proposed about the schools could
only have bad effects, and would in no shape or way achieve the
purpose that the Californians had in mind. I also explained that I
would use every resource of the National Government to protect the
Japanese in their treaty rights, and would count upon the State
authorities backing me up to the limit in such action. In short, I
insisted upon the two points (1) that the Nation and not the
individual States must deal with matters of such international
significance and must treat foreign nations with entire courtesy and
respect; and (2) that the Nation would at once, and in efficient and
satisfactory manner, take action that would meet the needs of
California. I both asserted the power of the Nation and offered a full
remedy for the needs of the State. This is the right, and the only
right, course. The worst possible course in such a case is to fail to
insist on the right of the Nation, to offer no action of the Nation to
remedy what is wrong, and yet to try to coax the State not to do what
it is mistakenly encouraged to believe it has the power to do, when no
other alternative is offered.

After a good deal of discussion, we came to an entirely satisfactory
conclusion. The obnoxious school legislation was abandoned, and I
secured an arrangement with Japan under which the Japanese themselves
prevented any immigration to our country of their laboring people, it
being distinctly understood that if there was such emigration the
United States would at once pass an exclusion law. It was of course
infinitely better that the Japanese should stop their own people from
coming rather than that we should have to stop them; but it was
necessary for us to hold this power in reserve.

Unfortunately, after I left office, a most mistaken and ill-advised
policy was pursued towards Japan, combining irritation and
inefficiency, which culminated in a treaty under which we surrendered
this important and necessary right. It was alleged in excuse that the
treaty provided for its own abrogation; but of course it is infinitely
better to have a treaty under which the power to exercise a necessary
right is explicitly retained rather than a treaty so drawn that
recourse must be had to the extreme step of abrogating if it ever
becomes necessary to exercise the right in question.

The arrangement we made worked admirably, and entirely achieved its
purpose. No small part of our success was due to the fact that we
succeeded in impressing on the Japanese that we sincerely admired and
respected them, and desired to treat them with the utmost
consideration. I cannot too strongly express my indignation with, and
abhorrence of, reckless public writers and speakers who, with coarse
and vulgar insolence, insult the Japanese people and thereby do the
greatest wrong not only to Japan but to their own country.

Such conduct represents that nadir of underbreeding and folly. The
Japanese are one of the great nations of the world, entitled to stand,
and standing, on a footing of full equality with any nation of Europe
or America. I have the heartiest admiration for them. They can teach
us much. Their civilization is in some respects higher than our own.
It is eminently undesirable that Japanese and Americans should attempt
to live together in masses; any such attempt would be sure to result
disastrously, and the far-seeing statesmen of both countries should
join to prevent it.

But this is not because either nation is inferior to the other; it is
because they are different. The two peoples represent two
civilizations which, although in many respects equally high, are so
totally distinct in their past history that it is idle to expect in
one or two generations to overcome this difference. One civilization
is as old as the other; and in neither case is the line of cultural
descent coincident with that of ethnic descent. Unquestionably the
ancestors of the great majority both of the modern Americans and the
modern Japanese were barbarians in that remote past which saw the
origins of the cultured peoples to which the Americans and the
Japanese of to-day severally trace their civilizations. But the lines
of development of these two civilizations, of the Orient and the
Occident, have been separate and divergent since thousands of years
before the Christian era; certainly since that hoary eld in which the
Akkadian predecessors of the Chaldean Semites held sway in
Mesopotamia. An effort to mix together, out of hand, the peoples
representing the culminating points of two such lines of divergent
cultural development would be fraught with peril; and this, I repeat,
because the two are different, not because either is inferior to the
other. Wise statesmen, looking to the future, will for the present
endeavor to keep the two nations from mass contact and intermingling,
precisely because they wish to keep each in relations of permanent
good will and friendship with the other.

Exactly what was done in the particular crisis to which I refer is
shown in the following letter which, after our policy had been
successfully put into execution, I sent to the then Speaker of the
California lower house of the Legislature:

February 8, 1909.

Speaker of the Assembly,
Sacramento, California:

I trust there will be no misunderstanding of the Federal
Government's attitude. We are jealously endeavoring to guard the
interests of California and of the entire West in accordance with
the desires of our Western people. By friendly agreement with
Japan, we are now carrying out a policy which, while meeting the
interests and desires of the Pacific slope, is yet compatible, not
merely with mutual self-respect, but with mutual esteem and
admiration between the Americans and Japanese. The Japanese
Government is loyally and in good faith doing its part to carry
out this policy, precisely as the American Government is doing.
The policy aims at mutuality of obligation and behavior. In
accordance with it the purpose is that the Japanese shall come
here exactly as Americans go to Japan, which is in effect that
travelers, students, persons engaged in international business,
men who sojourn for pleasure or study, and the like, shall have
the freest access from one country to the other, and shall be sure
of the best treatment, but that there shall be no settlement in
mass by the people of either country in the other. During the last
six months under this policy more Japanese have left the country
than have come in, and the total number in the United States has
diminished by over two thousand. These figures are absolutely
accurate and cannot be impeached. In other words, if the present
policy is consistently followed and works as well in the future as
it is now working, all difficulties and causes of friction will
disappear, while at the same time each nation will retain its
self-respect and the good will of the other. But such a bill as
this school bill accomplishes literally nothing whatever in the
line of the object aimed at, and gives just and grave cause for
irritation; while in addition the United States Government would
be obliged immediately to take action in the Federal courts to
test such legislation, as we hold it to be clearly a violation of
the treaty. On this point I refer you to the numerous decisions of
the United States Supreme Court in regard to State laws which
violate treaty obligations of the United States. The legislation
would accomplish nothing beneficial and would certainly cause some
mischief, and might cause very grave mischief. In short, the
policy of the Administration is to combine the maximum of
efficiency in achieving the real object which the people of the
Pacific Slope have at heart, with the minimum of friction and
trouble, while the misguided men who advocate such action as this
against which I protest are following a policy which combines the
very minimum of efficiency with the maximum of insult, and which,
while totally failing to achieve any real result for good, yet
might accomplish an infinity of harm. If in the next year or two
the action of the Federal Government fails to achieve what it is
now achieving, then through the further action of the President
and Congress it can be made entirely efficient. I am sure that the
sound judgment of the people of California will support you, Mr.
Speaker, in your effort. Let me repeat that at present we are
actually doing the very thing which the people of California wish
to be done, and to upset the arrangement under which this is being
done cannot do good and may do great harm. If in the next year or
two the figures of immigration prove that the arrangement which
has worked so successfully during the last six months is no longer
working successfully, then there would be ground for grievance and
for the reversal by the National Government of its present policy.
But at present the policy is working well, and until it works
badly it would be a grave misfortune to change it, and when
changed it can only be changed effectively by the National


In foreign and domestic affairs alike the policy pursued during my
Administration was simple. In foreign affairs the principle from which
we never deviated was to have the Nation behave toward other nations
precisely as a strong, honorable, and upright man behaves in dealing
with his fellow-men. There is no such thing as international law in
the sense that there is municipal law or law within a nation. Within
the nation there is always a judge, and a policeman who stands back of
the judge. The whole system of law depends first upon the fact that
there is a judge competent to pass judgment, and second upon the fact
that there is some competent officer whose duty it is to carry out
this judgment, by force if necessary. In international law there is no
judge, unless the parties in interest agree that one shall be
constituted; and there is no policeman to carry out the judge's
orders. In consequence, as yet each nation must depend upon itself for
its own protection. The frightful calamities that have befallen China,
solely because she has had no power of self-defense, ought to make it
inexcusable in any wise American citizen to pretend to patriotic
purpose, and yet to fail to insist that the United States shall keep
in a condition of ability if necessary to assert its rights with a
strong hand. It is folly of the criminal type for the Nation not to
keep up its navy, not to fortify its vital strategic points, and not
to provide an adequate army for its needs. On the other hand, it is
wicked for the Nation to fail in either justice, courtesy, or
consideration when dealing with any other power, big or little. John
Hay was Secretary of State when I became President, and continued to
serve under me until his death, and his and my views as to the
attitude that the Nation should take in foreign affairs were
identical, both as regards our duty to be able to protect ourselves
against the strong and as regards our duty always to act not only
justly but generously toward the weak.

John Hay was one of the most delightful of companions, one of the most
charming of all men of cultivation and action. Our views on foreign
affairs coincided absolutely; but, as was natural enough, in domestic
matters he felt much more conservative than he did in the days when as
a young man he was private secretary to the great radical democratic
leader of the '60's, Abraham Lincoln. He was fond of jesting with me
about my supposedly dangerous tendencies in favor of labor against
capital. When I was inaugurated on March 4, 1905, I wore a ring he
sent me the evening before, containing the hair of Abraham Lincoln.
This ring was on my finger when the Chief Justice administered to me
the oath of allegiance to the United States; I often thereafter told
John Hay that when I wore such a ring on such an occasion I bound
myself more than ever to treat the Constitution, after the manner of
Abraham Lincoln, as a document which put human rights above property
rights when the two conflicted. The last Christmas John Hay was alive
he sent me the manuscript of a Norse saga by William Morris, with the
following note:

Christmas Eve, 1904.

DEAR THEODORE: In your quality of Viking this Norse saga should
belong to you, and in your character of Enemy of Property this Ms.
of William Morris will appeal to you. Wishing you a Merry
Christmas and many happy years, I am yours affectionately,


In internal affairs I cannot say that I entered the Presidency with
any deliberately planned and far-reaching scheme of social betterment.
I had, however, certain strong convictions; and I was on the lookout
for every opportunity of realizing those convictions. I was bent upon
making the Government the most efficient possible instrument in
helping the people of the United States to better themselves in every
way, politically, socially, and industrially. I believed with all my
heart in real and thoroughgoing democracy, and I wished to make this
democracy industrial as well as political, although I had only
partially formulated the methods I believed we should follow. I
believed in the people's rights, and therefore in National rights and
States' rights just exactly to the degree in which they severally
secured popular rights. I believed in invoking the National power with
absolute freedom for every National need; and I believed that the
Constitution should be treated as the greatest document ever devised
by the wit of man to aid a people in exercising every power necessary
for its own betterment, and not as a straitjacket cunningly fashioned
to strangle growth. As for the particular methods of realizing these
various beliefs, I was content to wait and see what method might be
necessary in each given case as it arose; and I was certain that the
cases would arise fast enough.

As the time for the Presidential nomination of 1904 drew near, it
became evident that I was strong with the rank and file of the party,
but that there was much opposition to me among many of the big
political leaders, and especially among many of the Wall Street men. A
group of these men met in conference to organize this opposition. It
was to be done with complete secrecy. But such secrets are very hard
to keep. I speedily knew all about it, and took my measures
accordingly. The big men in question, who possessed much power so long
as they could work under cover, or so long as they were merely
throwing their weight one way or the other between forces fairly
evenly balanced, were quite helpless when fighting in the open by
themselves. I never found out that anything practical was even
attempted by most of the men who took part in the conference. Three or
four of them, however, did attempt something. The head of one big
business corporation attempted to start an effort to control the
delegations from New Jersey, North Carolina, and certain Gulf States
against me. The head of a great railway system made preparations for a
more ambitious effort looking towards the control of the delegations
from Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and California against me. He
was a very powerful man financially, but his power politically was
much more limited, and he did not really understand his own
limitations or the situation itself, whereas I did. He could not have
secured a delegate against me from Iowa, Nebraska, or Kansas. In
Colorado and California he could have made a fight, but even there I
think he would have been completely beaten. However, long before the
time for the Convention came around, it was recognized that it was
hopeless to make any opposition to my nomination. The effort was
abandoned, and I was nominated unanimously. Judge Parker was nominated
by the Democrats against me. Practically all the metropolitan
newspapers of largest circulation were against me; in New York City
fifteen out of every sixteen copies of papers issued were hostile to
me. I won by a popular majority of about two million and a half, and
in the electoral college carried 330 votes against 136. It was by far
the largest popular majority ever hitherto given any Presidential

My opponents during the campaign had laid much stress upon my supposed
personal ambition and intention to use the office of President to
perpetuate myself in power. I did not say anything on the subject
prior to the election, as I did not wish to say anything that could be
construed into a promise offered as a consideration in order to secure
votes. But on election night, after the returns were in I issued the
following statement: "The wise custom which limits the President to
two terms regards the substance and not the form, and under no
circumstances will I be a candidate for or accept another nomination."

The reason for my choice of the exact phraseology used was twofold. In
the first place, many of my supporters were insisting that, as I had
served only three and a half years of my first term, coming in from
the Vice-Presidency when President McKinley was killed, I had really
had only one elective term, so that the third term custom did not
apply to me; and I wished to repudiate this suggestion. I believed
then (and I believe now) the third term custom or tradition to be
wholesome, and, therefore, I was determined to regard its substance,
refusing to quibble over the words usually employed to express it. On
the other hand, I did not wish simply and specifically to say that I
would not be a candidate for the nomination in 1908, because if I had
specified the year when I would not be a candidate, it would have been
widely accepted as meaning that I intended to be a candidate some
other year; and I had no such intention, and had no idea that I would
ever be a candidate again. Certain newspaper men did ask me if I
intended to apply my prohibition to 1912, and I answered that I was
not thinking of 1912, nor of 1920, nor of 1940, and that I must
decline to say anything whatever except what appeared in my statement.

The Presidency is a great office, and the power of the President can
be effectively used to secure a renomination, especially if the
President has the support of certain great political and financial
interests. It is for this reason, and this reason alone, that the
wholesome principle of continuing in office, so long as he is willing
to serve, an incumbent who has proved capable, is not applicable to
the Presidency. Therefore, the American people have wisely established
a custom against allowing any man to hold that office for more than
two consecutive terms. But every shred of power which a President
exercises while in office vanishes absolutely when he has once left
office. An ex-President stands precisely in the position of any other
private citizen, and has not one particle more power to secure a
nomination or election than if he had never held the office at all--
indeed, he probably has less because of the very fact that he has held
the office. Therefore the reasoning on which the anti-third term
custom is based has no application whatever to an ex-President, and no
application whatever to anything except consecutive terms. As a
barrier of precaution against more than two consecutive terms the
custom embodies a valuable principle. Applied in any other way it
becomes a mere formula, and like all formulas a potential source of
mischievous confusion. Having this in mind, I regarded the custom as
applying practically, if not just as much, to a President who had been
seven and a half years in office as to one who had been eight years in
office, and therefore, in the teeth of a practically unanimous demand
from my own party that I accept another nomination, and the reasonable
certainty that the nomination would be ratified at the polls, I felt
that the substance of the custom applied to me in 1908. On the other
hand, it had no application whatever to any human being save where it
was invoked in the case of a man desiring a third consecutive term.
Having given such substantial proof of my own regard for the custom, I
deem it a duty to add this comment on it. I believe that it is well to
have a custom of this kind, to be generally observed, but that it
would be very unwise to have it definitely hardened into a
Constitutional prohibition. It is not desirable ordinarily that a man
should stay in office twelve consecutive years as President; but most
certainly the American people are fit to take care of themselves, and
stand in no need of an irrevocable self-denying ordinance. They should
not bind themselves never to take action which under some quite
conceivable circumstances it might be to their great interest to take.
It is obviously of the last importance to the safety of a democracy
that in time of real peril it should be able to command the service of
every one among its citizens in the precise position where the service
rendered will be most valuable. It would be a benighted policy in such
event to disqualify absolutely from the highest office a man who while
holding it had actually shown the highest capacity to exercise its
powers with the utmost effect for the public defense. If, for
instance, a tremendous crisis occurred at the end of the second term
of a man like Lincoln, as such a crisis occurred at the end of his
first term, it would be a veritable calamity if the American people
were forbidden to continue to use the services of the one man whom
they knew, and did not merely guess, could carry them through the
crisis. The third term tradition has no value whatever except as it
applies to a third consecutive term. While it is well to keep it as a
custom, it would be a mark both of weakness and unwisdom for the
American people to embody it into a Constitutional provision which
could not do them good and on some given occasion might work real

There was one cartoon made while I was President, in which I appeared
incidentally, that was always a great favorite of mine. It pictured an
old fellow with chin whiskers, a farmer, in his shirt-sleeves, with
his boots off, sitting before the fire, reading the President's
Message. On his feet were stockings of the kind I have seen hung up by
the dozen in Joe Ferris's store at Medora, in the days when I used to
come in to town and sleep in one of the rooms over the store. The
title of the picture was "His Favorite Author." This was the old
fellow whom I always used to keep in mind. He had probably been in the
Civil War in his youth; he had worked hard ever since he left the
army; he had been a good husband and father; he had brought up his
boys and girls to work; he did not wish to do injustice to any one
else, but he wanted justice done to himself and to others like him;
and I was bound to secure that justice for him if it lay in my power
to do so.[*]

[*] I believe I realized fairly well this ambition. I shall turn to my
enemies to attest the truth of this statement. The New York /Sun/,
shortly before the National Convention of 1904, spoke of me as

"President Roosevelt holds that his nomination by the National
Republican Convention of 1904 is an assured thing. He makes no
concealment of his conviction, and it is unreservedly shared by
his friends. We think President Roosevelt is right.

"There are strong and convincing reasons why the President should
feel that success is within his grasp. He has used the
opportunities that he found or created, and he has used them with
consummate skill and undeniable success.

"The President has disarmed all his enemies. Every weapon they had,
new or old, has been taken from them and added to the now
unassailable Roosevelt arsenal. Why should people wonder that Mr.
Bryan clings to silver? Has not Mr. Roosevelt absorbed and
sequestered every vestige of the Kansas City platform that had a
shred of practical value? Suppose that Mr. Bryan had been elected
President. What could he have accomplished compared with what Mr.
Roosevelt has accomplished? Will his most passionate followers
pretend for one moment that Mr. Bryan could have conceived, much
less enforced, any such pursuit of the trusts as that which Mr.
Roosevelt has just brought to a triumphant issue? Will Mr. Bryan
himself intimate that the Federal courts would have turned to his
projects the friendly countenance which they have lent to those of
Mr. Roosevelt?

"Where is 'government by injunction' gone to? The very emptiness of
that once potent phrase is beyond description! A regiment of
Bryans could not compete with Mr. Roosevelt in harrying the
trusts, in bringing wealth to its knees, and in converting into
the palpable actualities of action the wildest dreams of Bryan's
campaign orators. He has outdone them all.

"And how utterly the President has routed the pretensions of Bryan,
and of the whole Democratic horde in respect to organized labor!
How empty were all their professions, their mouthings and their
howlings in the face of the simple and unpretentious achievements
of the President! In his own straightforward fashion he inflicted
upon capital in one short hour of the coal strike a greater
humiliation than Bryan could have visited upon it in a century. He
is the leader of the labor unions of the United States. Mr.
Roosevelt has put them above the law and above the Constitution,
because for him they are the American people." [This last, I need
hardly say, is merely a rhetorical method of saying that I gave
the labor union precisely the same treatment as the corporation.]

Senator La Follette, in the issue of his magazine immediately
following my leaving the Presidency in March, 1909, wrote as follows:

"Roosevelt steps from the stage gracefully. He has ruled his party
to a large extent against its will. He has played a large part in
the world's work, for the past seven years. The activities of his
remarkably forceful personality have been so manifold that it will
be long before his true rating will be fixed in the opinion of the
race. He is said to think that the three great things done by him
are the undertaking of the construction of the Panama Canal and
its rapid and successful carrying forward, the making of peace
between Russia and Japan, and the sending around the world of the

"These are important things, but many will be slow to think them
his greatest services. The Panama Canal will surely serve mankind
when in operation; and the manner of organizing this work seems to
be fine. But no one can say whether this project will be a
gigantic success or a gigantic failure; and the task is one which
must, in the nature of things, have been undertaken and carried
through some time soon, as historic periods go, anyhow. The Peace
of Portsmouth was a great thing to be responsible for, and
Roosevelt's good offices undoubtedly saved a great and bloody
battle in Manchuria. But the war was fought out, and the parties
ready to quit, and there is reason to think that it was only when
this situation was arrived at that the good offices of the
President of the United States were, more or less indirectly,
invited. The fleet's cruise was a strong piece of diplomacy, by
which we informed Japan that we will send our fleet wherever we
please and whenever we please. It worked out well.

"But none of these things, it will seem to many, can compare with
some of Roosevelt's other achievements. Perhaps he is loath to
take credit as a reformer, for he is prone to spell the word with
question marks, and to speak disparagingly of 'reform.'

"But for all that, this contemner of 'reformers' made reform
respectable in the United States, and this rebuker of 'muck-
rakers' has been the chief agent in making the history of 'muck-
raking' in the United States a National one, conceded to be
useful. He has preached from the White House many doctrines; but
among them he has left impressed on the American mind the one
great truth of economic justice couched in the pithy and stinging
phrase 'the square deal.' The task of making reform respectable in
a commercialized world, and of giving the Nation a slogan in a
phrase, is greater than the man who performed it is likely to

"And, then, there is the great and statesmanlike movement for the
conservation of our National resources, into which Roosevelt so
energetically threw himself at a time when the Nation as a whole
knew not that we are ruining and bankrupting ourselves as fast as
we can. This is probably the greatest thing Roosevelt did,
undoubtedly. This globe is the capital stock of the race. It is
just so much coal and oil and gas. This may be economized or
wasted. The same thing is true of phosphates and other mineral
resources. Our water resources are immense, and we are only just
beginning to use them. Our forests have been destroyed; they must
be restored. Our soils are being depleted; they must be built up
and conserved.

"These questions are not of this day only or of this generation.
They belong all to the future. Their consideration requires that
high moral tone which regards the earth as the home of a posterity
to whom we owe a sacred duty.

"This immense idea Roosevelt, with high statesmanship, dinned into
the ears of the Nation until the Nation heeded. He held it so high
that it attracted the attention of the neighboring nations of the
continent, and will so spread and intensify that we will soon see
the world's conferences devoted to it.

"Nothing can be greater or finer than this. It is so great and so
fine that when the historian of the future shall speak of Theodore
Roosevelt he is likely to say that he did many notable things,
among them that of inaugurating the movement which finally
resulted in the square deal, but that his greatest work was
inspiring and actually beginning a world movement for staying
terrestrial waste and saving for the human race the things upon
which, and upon which alone, a great and peaceful and progressive
and happy race life can be founded.

"What statesman in all history has done anything calling for so
wide a view and for a purpose more lofty?"



When Governor of New York, as I have already described, I had been in
consultation with Gifford Pinchot and F. H. Newell, and had shaped my
recommendations about forestry largely in accordance with their
suggestions. Like other men who had thought about the national future
at all, I had been growing more and more concerned over the
destruction of the forests.

While I had lived in the West I had come to realize the vital need of
irrigation to the country, and I had been both amused and irritated by
the attitude of Eastern men who obtained from Congress grants of
National money to develop harbors and yet fought the use of the
Nation's power to develop the irrigation work of the West. Major John
Wesley Powell, the explorer of the Grand Canyon, and Director of the
Geological Survey, was the first man who fought for irrigation, and he
lived to see the Reclamation Act passed and construction actually
begun. Mr. F. H. Newell, the present Director of the Reclamation
Service, began his work as an assistant hydraulic engineer under Major
Powell; and, unlike Powell, he appreciated the need of saving the
forests and the soil as well as the need of irrigation. Between Powell
and Newell came, as Director of the Geological Survey, Charles D.
Walcott, who, after the Reclamation Act was passed, by his force,
pertinacity, and tact, succeeded in putting the act into effect in the
best possible manner. Senator Francis G. Newlands, of Nevada, fought
hard for the cause of reclamation in Congress. He attempted to get his
State to act, and when that proved hopeless to get the Nation to act;
and was ably assisted by Mr. G. H. Maxwell, a Californian, who had
taken a deep interest in irrigation matters. Dr. W. J. McGee was one
of the leaders in all the later stages of the movement. But Gifford
Pinchot is the man to whom the nation owes most for what has been
accomplished as regards the preservation of the natural resources of
our country. He led, and indeed during its most vital period embodied,
the fight for the preservation through use of our forests. He played
one of the leading parts in the effort to make the National Government
the chief instrument in developing the irrigation of the arid West. He
was the foremost leader in the great struggle to coordinate all our
social and governmental forces in the effort to secure the adoption of
a rational and farseeing policy for securing the conservation of all
our national resources. He was already in the Government service as
head of the Forestry Bureau when I became President; he continued
throughout my term, not only as head of the Forest service, but as the
moving and directing spirit in most of the conservation work, and as
counsellor and assistant on most of the other work connected with the
internal affairs of the country. Taking into account the varied nature
of the work he did, its vital importance to the nation and the fact
that as regards much of it he was practically breaking new ground, and
taking into account also his tireless energy and activity, his
fearlessness, his complete disinterestedness, his single-minded
devotion to the interests of the plain people, and his extraordinary
efficiency, I believe it is but just to say that among the many, many
public officials who under my administration rendered literally
invaluable service to the people of the United States, he, on the
whole, stood first. A few months after I left the Presidency he was
removed from office by President Taft.

The first work I took up when I became President was the work of
reclamation. Immediately after I had come to Washington, after the
assassination of President McKinley, while staying at the house of my
sister, Mrs. Cowles, before going into the White House, Newell and
Pinchot called upon me and laid before me their plans for National
irrigation of the arid lands of the West, and for the consolidation of
the forest work of the Government in the Bureau of Forestry.

At that time a narrowly legalistic point of view toward natural
resources obtained in the Departments, and controlled the Governmental
administrative machinery. Through the General Land Office and other
Government bureaus, the public resources were being handled and
disposed of in accordance with the small considerations of petty legal
formalities, instead of for the large purposes of constructive
development, and the habit of deciding, whenever possible, in favor of
private interests against the public welfare was firmly fixed. It was
as little customary to favor the bona-fide settler and home builder,
as against the strict construction of the law, as it was to use the
law in thwarting the operations of the land grabbers. A technical
compliance with the letter of the law was all that was required.

The idea that our natural resources were inexhaustible still obtained,
and there was as yet no real knowledge of their extent and condition.
The relation of the conservation of natural resources to the problems
of National welfare and National efficiency had not yet dawned on the
public mind. The reclamation of arid public lands in the West was
still a matter for private enterprise alone; and our magnificent river
system, with its superb possibilities for public usefulness, was dealt
with by the National Government not as a unit, but as a disconnected
series of pork-barrel problems, whose only real interest was in their
effect on the reelection or defeat of a Congressman here and there--a
theory which, I regret to say, still obtains.

The place of the farmer in the National economy was still regarded
solely as that of a grower of food to be eaten by others, while the
human needs and interests of himself and his wife and children still
remained wholly outside the recognition of the Government.

All the forests which belonged to the United States were held and
administered in one Department, and all the foresters in Government
employ were in another Department. Forests and foresters had nothing
whatever to do with each other. The National Forests in the West (then
called forest reserves) were wholly inadequate in area to meet the
purposes for which they were created, while the need for forest
protection in the East had not yet begun to enter the public mind.

Such was the condition of things when Newell and Pinchot called on me.
I was a warm believer in reclamation and in forestry, and, after
listening to my two guests, I asked them to prepare material on the
subject for me to use in my first message to Congress, of December 3,
1901. This message laid the foundation for the development of
irrigation and forestry during the next seven and one-half years. It
set forth the new attitude toward the natural resources in the words:
"The Forest and water problems are perhaps the most vital internal
problems of the United States."

On the day the message was read, a committee of Western Senators and
Congressmen was organized to prepare a Reclamation Bill in accordance
with the recommendations. By far the most effective of the Senators in
drafting and pushing the bill, which became known by his name, was
Newlands. The draft of the bill was worked over by me and others at
several conferences and revised in important particulars; my active
interference was necessary to prevent it from being made unworkable by
an undue insistence upon States Rights, in accordance with the efforts
of Mr. Mondell and other Congressmen, who consistently fought for
local and private interests as against the interests of the people as
a whole.

On June 17, 1902, the Reclamation Act was passed. It set aside the
proceeds of the disposal of public lands for the purpose of reclaiming
the waste areas of the arid West by irrigating lands otherwise
worthless, and thus creating new homes upon the land. The money so
appropriated was to be repaid to the Government by the settlers, and
to be used again as a revolving fund continuously available for the

The impatience of the Western people to see immediate results from the
Reclamation Act was so great that red tape was disregarded, and the
work was pushed forward at a rate previously unknown in Government
affairs. Later, as in almost all such cases, there followed the
criticisms of alleged illegality and haste which are so easy to make
after results have been accomplished and the need for the measures
without which nothing could have been done has gone by. These
criticisms were in character precisely the same as that made about the
acquisition of Panama, the settlement of the anthracite coal strike,
the suits against the big trusts, the stopping of the panic of 1907 by
the action of the Executive concerning the Tennessee Coal and Iron
Company; and, in short, about most of the best work done during my

With the Reclamation work, as with much other work under me, the men
in charge were given to understand that they must get into the water
if they would learn to swim; and, furthermore, they learned to know
that if they acted honestly, and boldly and fearlessly accepted
responsibility, I would stand by them to the limit. In this, as in
every other case, in the end the boldness of the action fully
justified itself.

Every item of the whole great plan of Reclamation now in effect was
undertaken between 1902 and 1906. By the spring of 1909 the work was
an assured success, and the Government had become fully committed to
its continuance. The work of Reclamation was at first under the United
States Geological Survey, of which Charles D. Walcott was at that time
Director. In the spring of 1908 the United States Reclamation Service
was established to carry it on, under the direction of Frederick Hayes
Newell, to whom the inception of the plan was due. Newell's single-
minded devotion to this great task, the constructive imagination which
enabled him to conceive it, and the executive power and high character
through which he and his assistant, Arthur P. Davis, built up a model
service--all these have made him a model servant. The final proof of
his merit is supplied by the character and records of the men who
later assailed him.

Although the gross expenditure under the Reclamation Act is not yet as
large as that for the Panama Canal, the engineering obstacles to be
overcome have been almost as great, and the political impediments many
times greater. The Reclamation work had to be carried on at widely
separated points, remote from railroads, under the most difficult
pioneer conditions. The twenty-eight projects begun in the years 1902
to 1906 contemplated the irrigation of more than three million acres
and the watering of more than thirty thousand farms. Many of the dams
required for this huge task are higher than any previously built
anywhere in the world. They feed main-line canals over seven thousand
miles in total length, and involve minor constructions, such as
culverts and bridges, tens of thousands in number.

What the Reclamation Act has done for the country is by no means
limited to its material accomplishment. This Act and the results
flowing from it have helped powerfully to prove to the Nation that it
can handle its own resources and exercise direct and business-like
control over them. The population which the Reclamation Act has
brought into the arid West, while comparatively small when compared
with that in the more closely inhabited East, has been a most
effective contribution to the National life, for it has gone far to
transform the social aspect of the West, making for the stability of
the institutions upon which the welfare of the whole country rests: it
has substituted actual homemakers, who have settled on the land with
their families, for huge, migratory bands of sheep herded by the hired
shepherds of absentee owners.

The recent attacks on the Reclamation Service, and on Mr. Newell,
arise in large part, if not altogether, from an organized effort to
repudiate the obligation of the settlers to repay the Government for
what it has expended to reclaim the land. The repudiation of any debt
can always find supporters, and in this case it has attracted the
support not only of certain men among the settlers who hope to be
relieved of paying what they owe, but also of a variety of
unscrupulous politicians, some highly placed. It is unlikely that
their efforts to deprive the West of the revolving Irrigation fund
will succeed in doing anything but discrediting these politicians in
the sight of all honest men.

When in the spring of 1911 I visited the Roosevelt Dam in Arizona, and
opened the reservoir, I made a short speech to the assembled people.
Among other things, I said to the engineers present that in the name
of all good citizens I thanked them for their admirable work, as
efficient as it was honest, and conducted according to the highest
standards of public service. As I looked at the fine, strong, eager
faces of those of the force who were present, and thought of the
similar men in the service, in the higher positions, who were absent,
and who were no less responsible for the work done, I felt a
foreboding that they would never receive any real recognition for
their achievement; and, only half humorously, I warned them not to
expect any credit, or any satisfaction, except their own knowledge
that they had done well a first-class job, for that probably the only
attention Congress would ever pay them would be to investigate them.
Well, a year later a Congressional Committee actually did investigate
them. The investigation was instigated by some unscrupulous local
politicians and by some settlers who wished to be relieved from paying
their just obligations; and the members of the Committee joined in the
attack on as fine and honorable a set of public servants as the
Government has ever had; an attack made on them solely because they
were honorable and efficient and loyal to the interests both of the
Government and the settlers.

When I became President, the Bureau of Forestry (since 1905 the United
States Forest Service) was a small but growing organization, under
Gifford Pinchot, occupied mainly with laying the foundation of
American forestry by scientific study of the forests, and with the
promotion of forestry on private lands. It contained all the trained
foresters in the Government service, but had charge of no public
timberland whatsoever. The Government forest reserves of that day were
in the care of a Division in the General Land Office, under the
management of clerks wholly without knowledge of forestry, few if any
of whom had ever seen a foot of the timberlands for which they were
responsible. Thus the reserves were neither well protected nor well
used. There were no foresters among the men who had charge of the
National Forests, and no Government forests in charge of the
Government foresters.

In my first message to Congress I strongly recommended the
consolidation of the forest work in the hands of the trained men of
the Bureau of Forestry. This recommendation was repeated in other
messages, but Congress did not give effect to it until three years
later. In the meantime, by thorough study of the Western public
timberlands, the groundwork was laid for the responsibilities which
were to fall upon the Bureau of Forestry when the care of the National
Forests came to be transferred to it. It was evident that trained
American Foresters would be needed in considerable numbers, and a
forest school was established at Yale to supply them.

In 1901, at my suggestion as President, the Secretary of the Interior,
Mr. Hitchcock, made a formal request for technical advice from the
Bureau of Forestry in handling the National Forests, and an extensive
examination of their condition and needs was accordingly taken up. The
same year a study was begun of the proposed Appalachian National
Forest, the plan of which, already formulated at that time, has since
been carried out. A year later experimental planting on the National
Forests was also begun, and studies preparatory to the application of
practical forestry to the Indian Reservations were undertaken. In
1903, so rapidly did the public work of the Bureau of Forestry
increase, that the examination of land for new forest reserves was
added to the study of those already created, the forest lands of the
various States were studied, and cooperation with several of them in
the examination and handling of their forest lands was undertaken.
While these practical tasks were pushed forward, a technical knowledge
of American Forests was rapidly accumulated. The special knowledge
gained was made public in printed bulletins; and at the same time the
Bureau undertook, through the newspaper and periodical press, to make
all the people of the United States acquainted with the needs and the
purposes of practical forestry. It is doubtful whether there has ever
been elsewhere under the Government such effective publicity--
publicity purely in the interest of the people--at so low a cost.
Before the educational work of the Forest Service was stopped by the
Taft Administration, it was securing the publication of facts about
forestry in fifty million copies of newspapers a month at a total
expense of $6000 a year. Not one cent has ever been paid by the Forest
Service to any publication of any kind for the printing of this
material. It was given out freely, and published without cost because
it was news. Without this publicity the Forest Service could not have
survived the attacks made upon it by the representatives of the great
special interests in Congress; nor could forestry in America have made
the rapid progress it has.

The result of all the work outlined above was to bring together in the
Bureau of Forestry, by the end of 1904, the only body of forest
experts under the Government, and practically all of the first-hand
information about the public forests which was then in existence. In
1905, the obvious foolishness of continuing to separate the foresters
and the forests, reenforced by the action of the First National Forest
Congress, held in Washington, brought about the Act of February 1,
1905, which transferred the National Forests from the care of the
Interior Department to the Department of Agriculture, and resulted in
the creation of the present United States Forest Service.

The men upon whom the responsibility of handling some sixty million
acres of National Forest lands was thus thrown were ready for the
work, both in the office and in the field, because they had been
preparing for it for more than five years. Without delay they
proceeded, under the leadership of Pinchot, to apply to the new work
the principles they had already formulated. One of these was to open
all the resources of the National Forests to regulated use. Another
was that of putting every part of the land to that use in which it
would best serve the public. Following this principle, the Act of June
11, 1906, was drawn, and its passage was secured from Congress. This
law throws open to settlement all land in the National Forests that is
found, on examination, to be chiefly valuable for agriculture.
Hitherto all such land had been closed to the settler.

The principles thus formulated and applied may be summed up in the
statement that the rights of the public to the natural resources
outweigh private rights, and must be given its first consideration.
Until that time, in dealing with the National Forests, and the public
lands generally, private rights had almost uniformly been allowed to
overbalance public rights. The change we made was right, and was

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